How to Start a Motorcycle Club? A definitive guide
A motorcycle club acts a great platform for drawing together people who share your passion for riding—allowing you to enjoy days of fun and adventure together.
Unfortunately, building a club from scratch when you have zero experience isn’t a piece of cake. From recruiting like-minded riders whom you share the same values and passion, to coming up with an effective plan and executing it correctly, the process isn’t as easy.
Not to forget that most of the already established motorcycle clubs don’t always warmly welcome the new clubs.
The purpose of stitching together this guide is to take you through the entire process of creating your own motorcycle club from scratch, how to run it, pitfalls to avoid, and more.
The 9 Key Steps To Forming A Motorcycle Club:
Step #1: Decide what type of motorcycle club you want to form
First of all, you need to identify the reasons why you want to build a motorcycle club. This will help you determine what type of club you wish to form.
That being said, we can put the motorcycle clubs into two main categories, namely:
- Riding club: this is simply a group of friends or acquaintances who like discussing, working on, and riding motorbikes. Members usually get together regularly to socialize as well as ride their bikes. Though not always necessary, most riding clubs consist of owners of the same bike brand—like Honda Goldwing riders’ clubs, BMW riders club, etc. A riding club might consist of church members, law enforcement officers, military veterans, and so on.
- Motorcycle club: A motorcycle club, usually abbreviated as MC, is a bit different from riding club. Members of an MC usually out on vests to identify themselves. These vests feature 3-piece patches on the back. The top piece shows the MC name, the center has the club’s logo, and the bottom rocker has the club’s locality/state/city name.
Overall, a riding club will be much easier to form since you won’t have to go through the process of creating the club’s image, establishing a hierarchy, etc.
This is unlike an MC, where you must put all these considerations in mind.
For an MC, you’ll also need to get in touch with the most dominant MC in your area and inform them of your intentions. If you give a satisfactory reason for starting a club, they’ll give you a go ahead and show you what steps to follow.
If they don’t approve you to start the club, we suggest that you heed their advice.
Step #2: Branding (Club name and logo)
Once you have decided what type of club you wish to form, the next step involves coming up with a unique name and logo for your club.
For the name, you want to come up with something related to your motorcycle club philosophy, purpose, or image. Most clubs have their names, including their town, city or county, territory, etc. This helps communicate their place of origin or set them apart from clubs with similar names.
We also advise you against choosing a name that sounds intimating, offensive, or violent. This can not only give your club a bad reputation but can also attract the law enforcement’s attention.
Part of branding will also require you to come up with a logo to symbolize what your new club stands for. If you have some graphic design skills, you can do it on your own. Otherwise, consider hiring a professional to create a high-quality emblem for you. Remember that you’ll be using this logo to stamp everything produced by your club—including clothes, newsletters, riding gear, business cards, and more.
Step #3: Come up with a clear mission statement for your club
Another critical step to consider when forming a club involves coming up with a clear mission statement for your club.
This helps you outline the intentions of your new clubs and what sets it apart from the other clubs in your area. What’s more, it can help solidify your club’s vision.
Gladly, you don’t need any special skills to draft a detailed mission statement.
If you have a hard time trying to craft the message, you can boil it down to a single key phrase or word—something like brotherhood, recreation, community service, and so on.
Step #4: Time to look for recruits
At this point, you want to look for new members to join your club. And there are several ways to go about it…
- Firstly, look around you. You might have friends and family members who are into motorcycle riding and would love being part of a bigger community. Prioritizing friends and family is a good idea since you already know them well, so you won’t go through the vetting process to see if they’ll fit in your club.
- Another way of getting new members is by putting out an open invitation to other bikers. Set up a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for posting your clubs latest news and announcements. Posting on local message boards can also help get the word out there.
- Consider putting it in flyers and distributing them to areas where biking enthusiasts frequent—like the rest shops, racetracks, motorcycle retailers, repair shops, and bars.
Quick TIP: Prepare registration forms to be filled by all bikers who wish to join your new clubs. Have them fill all the relevant info such as age, address, occupation, type of bike they own, etc.
You might also want to include any other requirement for joining your club such as the absence of a criminal record, membership in church, etc. Reviewing these forms will help you easily decide who to let in and who not to.
Quick Tip 2: Make sure all the recruits have attained the age required by your state to legally operate a motorcycle on the public roads.
Step #5: Appoint officials for your club
Do you want your new club to have a formal structure?
If yes, then you should consider establishing a hierarchy.
Since you’ve got members of your new club already, assigning them various responsibilities based on their unique strengths and skillsets should be easy.
The most common officials in a motorcycle club include:
- President (you)
- Vice president
- Road captain: tasked with leading the group runs
- Enforcer: ensures that all the club members follow the club bylaws
Other officials you might consider choosing in your club include an emergency repair specialist, medic, and chaplain (or the Wise One) who oversees all the spiritual needs of your club. He’s also responsible for conduction funerals, marriages, and related events within the club.
Step #6: Register your clubs as a non-profit organization
With almost everything set in your new club, it’s time to consider registering the club in your state.
We highly recommend you to apply for recognition as a non-profit organization.
The process shouldn’t be hard as you’ll only need to fill out some paperwork, submit your club’s purpose, mission statement, and a list of your main committee members and their titles.
If your application goes through as a non-profit organization, you’ll qualify for liability insurance, sales tax exemption, solicitation licenses, among other legal benefits.
Step #7: Moving forward with your new club
Finally, you have your new club up and running—it’s fully registered, you have all the members and officials, and you have established a designated meeting place and regular meeting times.
It’s 100% active!
So, what’s next?
It’s time to start involving yourself in various activities such as community building-which is actually what many MCs do.
Consider organizing fundraisers to help you raise funds for various charitable events like exhibition races, donation-based raffles, food and toy drives, and more.
Such events can significantly boost your connection with the people in your hometown and even improve your public image.
You might also consider reaching out to local businesses to sponsor your events or offer services such as catering and entertainment.
Final TIPS for forming a motorcycle club:
- Growth is crucial: make sure that your club is always recreating new members to help grow the club. If an opportunity to merge with another club emerges, consider it to help improve your club and possibly establish dominance.
- Competition: As much as possible, avoid engaging in competition with other motorcycle clubs in your area. Only reach out to the dominant clubs and inform them of your intentions of forming a new club.
- If advised by 1-percenteer group in your local area not to start a club, you better heed to their advice. Otherwise, you’ll be in for dangerous consequences.
- Don’t want your club to be mistaken for an outlaw bikers’ gang (i.e., the 1-percenters)? Well, in such a case, we advise you to ensure that all your members wear the 99-percenteer patches to differentiate you from the 1-percenteers.
- When branding, avoid picking a symbol that resembles that of other motorcycle clubs. The last thing you want is to be confronted for being a copycat.
So, that’s how you build up a fully working motorcycle club from scratch. You should start by defining what type of motorcycle club you wish to form and then come up with a name and logo for your club, draft a mission statement, recruit new members and appoint them to various titles based on their unique strengths and skillsets.
Part of your club’s activities should involve giving back to the community. This will help improve your connection with your hometown folks and boost your public image.
Remember, growth is crucial for your motorcycle club. Recruit new members who fit your recruitment criteria and grab any other opportunity that positively impacts and helps grow your club.
Wish you luck!